Tuesday 6 May 2008

Climate change

I am not going to sit here and try and persuade you in one way or another on the issue of whether a) the climate is changing for the worse or b) if humans are causing it, really you are all intelligent people; you have probably made your mind up as to which side of this very contentious argument you lie. What I would like to share is this video and the viewpoint that if you are not 100% sure if it is happening or not, using an argument along the same lines as Pascal's Wager you should do something about climate change. Whatever little you can.


Jim Barter said...

I recently talked to Dominic about 'Climate Change', and we discussed the facts that the earth has tipped between cold and warm periods many, many times over the past million odd years of human evolution.

We as a species have been almost wiped out several times.

The last thing we should be doing to the delicate balance that is the global ecosystem is throwing billions of tons of carbon waste on the left hand side of the scale.

He told me that he wanted the weather to stay the same and has started to nag me when-ever I throw a teabag in the bin rather than on the compost heap.

"Every little helps" he keeps telling me.

Tom Salinsky said...

Isn't the big problem with this line of reasoning that Pascal's wager is bollocks?

It certainly isn't the case that spending without limit on reducing carbon emissions is definitely going to leave the world better off. On the contrary, we must carefully weigh BOTH probabilities and consequences before deciding where our limited resources should be directed.

Tony said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tony said...

Tom> is it? I'll ask God when I see him ;-)

Tom Salinsky said...

Of course it is. The most relevant of its flaws is that it's a false dichotomy. Either God exists or he does not. Either you believe and go to heaven or you doubt and go to hell.

Likewise with global warming. Either it's all a lot of hippy nonsense and we can happily go on burning our fossil fuels like billy-o, or we are teetering on the brink of apocalypse and should spare absolutely no effort to reduce carbon emmissions and thus minimise the planetary warming.

My own view is more nuanced. A certain amount of warming is almost certainly inevitable and will bring with it significant - but soluable - problems. A switch to sustainable fuels, probably nuclear or solar or a combination, is coming and hastening that would be a good thing.

What I'd rather not see is billions upon billions of dollars wasted in efforts such as the Kyoto Protocol whose chief effect will be to reduce the resources we have available to deal with the 1-3 degrees of warming which will come with or without Kyoto.